World Cup Heartbreak For Gana And Senegal

Idrissa Gana Gueye’s World Cup adventures came to an end in dramatic fashion on Thursday afternoon after Senegal lost 1-0 to Colombia and missed out on qualification to the last 16.

As with most of the final round of group games in Russia, the permutations were seemingly endless when it came to who would qualify out of Group H, but most importantly, Senegal knew that at least a point would see them reach the knockout stages.

A second-half header from Yerry Mina gave Colombia victory, though. And despite finishing level on four points with Japan - who went down 1-0 to Poland - and with the same goal difference, Senegal failed to progress having accrued two more yellow cards in the tournament.

Everton’s Gana kept his place in the Senegal side as Aliou Cisse paired him in a central midfield two with Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham.

A goalless first half may not have given either set of fans much to cheer about – particularly when VAR reversed a penalty decision for the Lions of Teranga after Davinson Sanchez’s challenge on Sadio Mane - but those inside the Samara Arena were united when the news that Poland had taken the lead against Japan filtered through.

That meant both Senegal and Colombia would progress at the expense of the Japanese, who began the day leading the group.

However, on 74 minutes, defender Yerry Mina powerfully headed home the winner. It meant Senegal were heading out and Cisse’s side went in search of the goal that would reclaim their place in the top two.

Colombia keeper David Ospina was at his best to deny M’Baye Niang before Ismaila Sarr twice went agonisingly close in quick succession.

But try as they might, Senegal just couldn’t find a way through a resolute wall of yellow shirts, with Colombia – who began the day in third place in Group H – celebrating topping the group and the Lions of Teranga wondering what might have been.